The magic of the FFA Cup shone brightly on Saturday as underdogs UWA-Nedlands booted Stirling Lions from the competition with a dramatic 2-1 victory after extra-time.
In front of a raucous attendance at UWA Sports Park, Riaz Kelly’s extra-time strike ensured the State League Division One side progressed after the scores were locked at 1-1 at the end of regulation time.
Going into the match as favourites despite sitting rooted to the bottom of the NPL WA table, Stirling began positively. However, an array of well-timed, last-ditch challenges from the UWA-Nedlands defenders kept the match goalless at the main break.
FFA CUP ROUND FIVE RESULTS
The hosts presented more of an attacking threat after half-time and broke the deadlock on 54 minutes when Joe Haydon tapped in from close-range after Patrick Morrison had seen his initial shot parried by goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery.
But Stirling responded swiftly and drew level nine minutes later when Michael Gama struck after a frantic goal mouth scramble.
The University side continued to create and looked the more likely as full-time approached, with substitute Alexander Kretocoicz consistently threatening.
Extra-time started with a flurry as Montgomery spectacularly saved a Kretocoicz shot before Lions’ striker Daniel Jones hit the bar with a stunning 25-yard free-kick.
But as the floodlights began taking affect and penalties loomed, on 109 minutes UWA-Nedlands snatched victory when Kelly finished off some quality lead-up play on the left-wing and sent the home crowd mad with delight.
After belting out the club song, UWA-Nedlands coach Michael Jansen said he was proud of how his undermanned side willed themselves to victory.
“Definitely. Today we had so many young boys who were stepping in for our injured players, we had players playing different positions,” Jansen said.
“If you want it more, you will get your reward … it was massive for us (to win).”
Jansen said he expected numerous unavailable players to return for next week’s league game against Subiaco.
Stirling Lions’ key man Michael Wantee, who played his first full game since returning from a long-term injury, said his side lacked quality at crucial stages.
“I don’t think we played too bad to be honest as a team, we just lacked a bit of quality here and there.”
Stirling will look to move out of the NPL relegation zone when they take on Floreat Athena next Saturday.
Round Six of the FFA Cup will be held on the weekend of June 3.
Star player: Alexander Kretocoicz
UWA-Nedlands 2 (Haydon 54min, Kelly 109)
Stirling Lions 1 (Gama 63)
Saturday, May 18
UWA Sports Park
Referee: Tom Glavouz
UWA-NEDLANDS: 1. Luke STONEBRIDGE, 2. Sam GUTHRIDGE, 6. Riaz KELLY, 7. Tim ROBERTSON, 8. Joe HAYDON, 9. Thomas WHITE (19. Cameon HOLLEY 68), 12. Nikolas THEODOROU, 13. Tristan TAYLOR, 15. Thomas MALONEY, 18. Patrick MORRISON (10. Alexander KRETOCOICZ 58), 30. Max WELTON
Substitutes not used: 3. Tim ROSSI, 5. Aaryie SHARP, 22. Adam CIHS
Yellow cards: Robertson 55m, Kelly 115m
Red cards: Nil
STIRLING LIONS: 2. Mike PETKOVSKI, 3. Darren O’RIORDAN, 4. Griffin BESCI, 5. Nelson TSHONGO, 6. Dhors CHOL, 7. Blerion MAMUDI, 8. Reive KIASA, 9. Michael WANTEE, 10. Daniel JONES, 11. Michael GAMA, 21. Ryan MONTGOMERY
Substitutes: 12. Filip MINIC, 14. Joseph PERKINS, 15. Angel DEJKOVSKI, 22. Daniel MARQUES
Yellow card: Chol 49, O’Riordan 100
Red cards: Nil